i’m always keen to feature new things from local jewellery label WAIF, by designer Gisèle Human, so when she emailed me about this collaborative shoot she did with clothing label SELFI i managed to put the new baby down for 2 seconds and actually write a blog post.

Gisèle says that she spotted the model, René Houghey, as she was coming down an escalator in a Joburg mall and had to convince her to partake in this shoot – “She seriously DID NOT buy it, and it was only until the day of the shoot that she truly got what we were on about in terms of her unique and lovely beauty. I think we made an impact on her life in some way. I hope that we did. It felt like a good thing to do, shoot this woman, of all women! We asked ourselves the question, ‘in a youth-obsessed culture, where do those who have seen trends come, go, and come back again, fit in and are they not the ultimate vision of lasting style?’”

The definition of beauty has evolved through the ages, but it has never been more prominently contested than now. Finally, we are seeing (more) plus size models on the catwalk, women breastfeeding on the catwalk, models with vitiligo, albinism, differently abled models, LGBTQ models, and we’re experiencing an unprecedented level of representation across all categories of human. For us, ‘the aged’ still have a way to go. In fact, we’d argue that old people are one of the most overlooked categories of people in our world. The world is getting older, and with age defying technology, we’ll likely be living even longer, which may require that we expand the definition of beauty beyond the age restriction. Further to this point, women (still) have a very complicated relationship with getting older. They dye their hair, get Botox, anything to halt the inevitable entropy of ageing. Yet a new wave of feminism is cast into focus, and we’re beginning to see an enlightened view emerge, and with it, hopefully, the embracing of wrinkles, grey hair and (beautiful) sagging body parts. Because, and this is the point, true beauty is reflected in the things you say and the impact you make on your community, and much less the body looking back at you in the mirror.

This shoot was entirely directed by women. Photographer Frances Marais | Art director Gisèle Human | Make-Up Lesley Whitby | Jewellery WAIF | Clothes SELFI | Shoes Hannah Lavery


  1. Just LOVED this shoot. Thank you for showing beauty in age. What an elegant woman. Just loved the ageless clothes and the jewellery – wow!

  2. Thank you! I am one of those older women and with each year that passes, I feel I’ve become more invisible. I know that I’ve had my time of youth and no regrets but that being said we are still here, working, still being mom to 4 grown daughters, knitting (of course :-) ) and I appreciate this post!

  3. I share the same sentiment as Tamara’s. Thank you for a truly inspiring post.

  4. Nancie Chmielewski Reply

    fabulous! I’d like to imagine this is me in 20 years…

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